This story is the result of a collaborative effort between Shell and New Orleans-based news station WWL. Shell and WWL partnered to explore how Shell’s 40 years of operating in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico benefits Louisiana and Gulf Coast businesses and communities.
Each day, more than 1,400 Shell employees work to find, develop and produce the Gulf of Mexico’s oil and gas resources that help power our lives.
Lucy Ferguson is part of that number. She is responsible for the many projects Shell does each year to keep its platforms safely and profitably running.
“Our deepwater production hubs have a lot of moving parts - heliports, drilling rig, living quarters, power generation and oil and gas processing,” said Lucy. “All this is floating in thousands of feet of water hundreds of miles offshore where everything is exposed to wind and salt water.”
This year, Shell is planning more than 70 construction and maintenance projects on its offshore platforms – projects that include paint campaigns, new equipment installation and replacing piping.
To get this all this done safely, Shell works with local Louisiana businesses that grew up with the oil and gas industry.
According to Lucy, “our local contractors are a vital part of our Gulf of Mexico operations. Many of them have been working with us since Shell took its first steps into deepwater. They are a part of our family.”
Danos is one such company. Based in Lafayette, Louisiana, Danos has worked with Shell offshore in the Gulf of Mexico for 47years.
“In the 1970’s Shell contracted with us for project support on its first deepwater platform sitting in about 1,000 feet of water,” said Eric Danos, Owner and Human Resources Executive. “Today, we are working with Shell on their latest deepwater project called Stones in more than 9,000 feet of water.”
Recently, Shell awarded Danos with a contract to build and install new equipment for Stones. They are also under contract for electrical and mechanical support for the project.
“What this contract means is that hundreds of local Danos employees will be able to keep working and provide for their families – either offshore at Stones or at our fabrication yard,” said Eric.
People like Trent Thomas, who grew up in Thibadoux, Louisiana, and now works as a welder for Danos.
Trent is part of a team of 20 working at the Danos fabrication yard in Amelia, Louisiana, to build what is called a “pancake” deck for Shell’s Stones project. The pancake deck is 74 feet long, 40 feet wide and 15 feet tall. It weighs about 112 tons and will be used to house new oil and gas processing equipment on Turritella – the Floating, Production and Storage Vessel used to produce hydrocarbons from the Stones field.
Shell currently operates eight production hubs in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Each year, the company invests $3 billion dollars to keep each of those assets safely running and bring online new barrels of oil.
Some of that money is used for paint campaigns, which is an important part of how Shell ensures the safety of its offshore platforms.
For example, Shell contracted with Danos last year to do paint work at its Olympus platform. The project involved 36 Danos employees working on the platform. The team painted the equivalent of 30 houses using nearly 1,500 gallons of paint that protects the facility from rust and corrosion.
Shell and Danos worked together on the front-end to make sure everything was in place to make the job safe. In the end, the paint crew finished the project safely, ahead of schedule, and under budget
“We are fortunate to have companies like Shell working here in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Eric Danos. “They care about the communities where they work and care about working with local businesses. Danos wouldn’t be the company it is today without Shell.
Proving just how Strong the Shell and Danos relationship is, hundreds of Danos employees went to Houston to help the city and Shell recover after Hurricane Harvey.
“40 years, ago Shell proved that a company could safely operate in more than 1,000 feet of water,” said Lucy. “Companies like Danos who have been with us each step of the way and share our commitment to keeping people and the environment safe is what will make the next 40 years of energy development in the Gulf of Mexico possible”.